Gladney's Response to Proposed Regulatory Change to Adoption Regulations

Monday, October 31, 2016

“Department of State” – With a nod to Halloween, these are the 3 scariest words for agencies engaged in international adoption and for prospective adoptive parents who seek to adopt children (primarily older and special needs children) from foreign countries.

Just after Labor Day, DOS proposed a large number of new regulations to, depending on your viewpoint, either tighten the noose further around international adoption or make improvements to ensure ethical practice. The intent of DOS is unclear, although providing a very brief 60-day comment period (just extended by a whopping 15 days) signals to me their lack of desire to engage in a meaningful dialogue with those potentially affected by these regulations.

Nonetheless, giving DOS the benefit of the doubt, Gladney has responded during the comment period affirming the importance DOS has placed on transparency in the adoption process and the need to ensure the highest standard of preparedness for prospective parents. These represent a good foundation from which to begin a constructive dialogue, but we are confused and concerned about several of the other proposed regulations. Our letter to DOS (please click here to read) spells out just a few of these concerns.

Our ask is simple. DOS should extend the comment period for at least another 60 days so we can truly engage in a meaningful, collaborative exchange of ideas.

At Gladney, we believe that every child deserves a loving, caring family. It is my hope that our Department of State shares the same wish.  

Frank Garrott
President and Adoptive Dad
Gladney Center for Adoption

Both Ends Burning/Craig Juntunen

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Department of State reported the latest figures for inter-country adoption. No surprise – the decline continues. There were 5,648 adoptions from abroad in fiscal year 2015, down from 6,438 the prior year and off 75% from the peak in 2004.

Gladney is doing well in China, Taiwan and Colombia. We are fortunate to have long standing relationships with caring government officials and wonderful orphanage partners, who readily acknowledge the benefits of a child being in a permanent, loving family and the detriment to a child of living in an institution for an extended period of time.

Progress in these three countries is encouraging, but we need to continue to advocate at the national level in concert with other organizations (NCFA, BEB, CCAI, CAFO) for every child’s right to a loving family to become more widely-accepted and embraced.

On Sunday, I will be traveling to Los Angeles to participate in the second Both Ends Burning symposium. The first took place 18 months ago at Harvard and 20 countries were represented.

This time, there will be child welfare leaders from 28 countries. The Department of State and UNICEF have accepted invitations from Both Ends Burning to participate.

I tremendously admire Craig Juntunen, the founder of Both Ends Burning.
He is collegial when he needs to be and confrontational when that’s called for. He has a passion for righting the wrong of these children unnecessarily languishing in institutions. His passion borders on anger. Ours should too. And his passion has remained intense for a decade. He never wavers and neither should we.


Both Ends Burning Conference

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of participating in a conference sponsored by Both Ends Burning (BEB) and Tyler Technologies. Attending the conference were 10 government officials from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The Department of State was also represented. 

You may recall that a year ago BEB convened a symposium at Harvard with 20 countries. There were 4 follow-up tracks to that conference. One was a technology track, which most of the countries were quite interested in. The idea was to be able to identify orphaned children, register them as citizens, provide government workers with data to move them through the system toward permanency, and track progress.

In many developing countries, there are two very basic problems. There is often no record of the child at all – no birth certificate; no nothing. The child has no official identity. That’s quite a hurdle to overcome. The second problem emanates from the first. While these countries may recognize that they have an orphan crisis, they often do not know the magnitude of the crisis.

Tyler Technologies, based in Plano, has developed software and defined a process to address these issues. The purpose of the conference was to demonstrate the software to the delegates from these countries and have them provide feedback as to how applicable, implementable and valuable this whole approach could be.

The conference exceeded expectations, partly because the delegates came very well prepared and partly because Tyler Technologies is as impressive a corporation as I have ever dealt with. They seem to have anticipated almost every conceivable issue – very smart and compassionate group of people.

Ideally, a pilot in each country will take place during the first half of 2016. Once proven successful, the intent is to expand it within country and replicate it to other countries that may have similar needs.

It's a privilege for me to be a board member of Both Ends Burning, an organization that continues to make a difference for vulnerable children every where.